Written by Evan Piekara, New Change Management Practice Lead here at Neuraflash
Remember Blockbuster? Kodak? Adaptation and Change Management have become pillars of organizational survival. The speed of information has accelerated, and with this has come shifting structures, business models, and ever-evolving strategies to not just stay competitive, but also to stay relevant!
What is Change Management?
Change Management is more than communications, training, or the latest business buzzword. It is the essence of overcoming obstacles, solving complex challenges, and building boundless business in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex,and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Prosci, one of the industry’s leading Change Management organizations, defines Change Management as the “application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the people-side of change to achieve a desired outcome.” Too often, organizations oversimplify Change Management as “training” or “communications.” Doing so negates the business discipline, holistic and integrated project perspective needed, and lifecycle approach required to empower and enable people to successfully change.
Change Management operates at the intersection of several consulting disciplines - strategy and operations, human capital, and technology. Even the most profound technological solution will face adoption challenges if a foundational strategy, supporting processes, and human centered design are not aligned with the change effort.
Moreover, Change Management integrates several business disciplines:
- Project management so that resources, deliverables, and outputs are linked to key project milestones.
- Risk management so that risks are identified, qualified, and mitigated.
- Measurement and evaluation to track progress, maintain momentum, and align business goals to measurable outcomes (or adjust course if outcomes are not being met).
Why does Change Management Matters?
A recent McKinsey study found that only 30-38% of change efforts are “completely or mostly successful.” This leaves a lot of organizations missing out on the full impact and intended outcomes of their change effort (and leading to a delayed ROI). Prosci has found that 93% of projects with excellent Change Management meet their objectives - 6x greater than projects with poor Change Management practices or no Change Management at all. Moreover, their studies also found that 78% of projects with excellent Change Management were delivered on or below budget and 69% of projects with excellent change management were delivered on, or ahead of schedule - 5x greater than projects with poor Change Management practices or no Change Management. Investing in this practice can save you time, money, and lead to faster adoption, utilization, and proficiency of your end users, ultimately leading to a faster return!
From our experience, investing in Change Management is also an investment in your people. Change takes effort, it takes time and attention away from your jobs, and it is an emotional process. There is uncertainty, there is inadequacy, there is frustration. While Change Management may not completely eliminate these negative emotions, it can smooth the transition. This can limit some of the unmeasured losses of change such as dis-engagement, poor morale, change fatigue, lower productivity, or even attrition.
Last but not least, investing in Change Management is also an investment in your organization. Change becomes part of your muscle memory and bad change habits can beget a litany of future failed change efforts. Moreover, these memories can become ingrained in the company culture. Here we go again, another failed change effort. Why do we even bother? Building positive change habits and a track record of change successes can create momentum for future changes, build an organization’s change agility, and create confidence in an organization’s ability to adapt to increasingly complex challenges!
In conclusion, Change Management takes discipline, effort, and investment. Not making this investment can be costly to your project, strain your people, and ultimately could hinder future change efforts.
If you are interested in learning more about how our Change Management practice can help your business, contact us today!